Northwestern Medical Center CEO Jill Berry Bowen was honored this week with the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports 2018 Business Wellness Leadership Award. The honor recognizes Vermont business leaders who go above and beyond in fostering wellbeing in the community – a hallmark of Bowen’s tenure at NMC.
The award was presented at the 2018 Worksite Wellness Awards and Conference and lauded Bowen’s healthy habits despite a demanding schedule. She is an avid cyclist, she often incorporates walking meetings into her schedule, and she is a strong voice for cultural change to make healthy choices easy choices both inside NMC and in the greater community.
“As business leaders, we must focus on creating a work environment that inspires our employees to embrace healthy lifestyles and take care of themselves,” Bowen said in her acceptance remarks. She was unable to attend the conference because at that time she was in Montpelier, speaking with the Green Mountain Care Board and advocating for proper healthcare funding. Her goal in Montpelier was to ensure the best care possible and allow the latitude for the leadership and investment to reduce the costs of care through population health management and primary prevention.
The irony was not lost on the crowd attending the conference; as her remarks were read aloud, laughter erupted from the crowd of over 500.
Bowen encourages the community to focus on primary prevention to reduce demand for costly medical treatments. She has championed the RiseVT movement to achieve measureable impact.
She is also an active participant and strong advocate for NMC’s HealthyU employee wellness program. She is quick to speak to colleagues about the importance of wellness in the worksite and HealthyU has served as a role model for other companies.
Recently Bowen supported the efforts of Lifestyle Medicine & RiseVT Medical Director Dr. Elisabeth Fontaine to undertake a dynamic redesign of HealthyU. The change simplifies participation and creates organization-wide free access to Wellcoach trained and certified health coaches.
NMC’s HealthyU Program was also recognized at the conference, earning distinction as one of the 2018 Governor’s Excellence in Worksite Wellness Awards. 81 Vermont employers were so-honored for their wellness strategies to promote healthy environments for employees.
In addition to her work at NMC, Bowen’s community service also makes her stand out. She has been deeply involved in the work of the Samaritan House/Tim’s House, the St. Albans Rotary, the American Heart Association, the local and state committees and Board of RiseVT, and the statewide Opiate Council. She is quick to volunteer to staff or participate in local community events, inspiring and rallying others across all her professional and personal connections to do the same.
“We have an opportunity to change the culture with intention,” said Bowen. “It can be simple – we can create active play at work and invest in our people’s overall wellness. Improving lives will improve work through productivity and retention — and stronger organizations will result.”
She also expressed her gratitude to the NMC team that continues to reenergize the Healthy U program, creating an environment that inspires healthy choices and overall wellbeing. “This award is about the amazing team I work with,” she said.
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